Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Delivering Kia Proeed performance is a selection of five engines following the range’s October 2015 revisions: four petrols and one diesel, albeit available with two transmission choices.

Petrol power

Petrol engines in the Kia Proceed mirror the range on offer in the five-door Ceed hatchback line-up.

Leisurely performance is at your disposal with the entry-level 98bhp 1.4-litre producing just 134Nm of torque at 4,200rpm. Expect to be making frequent gear changes with the standard six-speed manual, particularly to conduct overtaking moves safely. A top speed of 113mph and a 0-62mph time of 12.3 seconds tell their own story.

Although smooth, the 133bhp 1.6-litre GDi isn’t our pick of the petrol range, either. A torque increase to 164Nm at 4,850rpm helps, but again you need to work the gearbox hard to make the most of the 118mph top speed and 9.8 second 0-62mph time.

New to the range in 2015 were two of three-cylinder 1-litre ecoTurbo engines, producing 98bhp or 118bhp depending on the trim level. Performance is much more accessible thanks to both developing 171Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm.

Each comes with the six-speed manual transmission, allowing the lower-powered version to reach 114mph and dash to 62mph from a standstill in 12.4 seconds. The more powerful version feels livelier than its 118mph and 10.7 second time suggest.

Diesel alternatives

If lowering your running costs is a priority then there’s only one diesel to choose from in the Kia Proceed line-up: the 1.6-litre CRDi. It produced 126bhp from launch but this increased to 134bhp following the 2015 makeover.

Torque increased too, reaching 280Nm at 1,500rpm for the six-speed manual, and 300Nm at 1,750rpm for the new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Lower specification Proceeds fitted with the improved 1.6-litre CRDi will reach 117mph and complete the 0-62mph sprint in 9.5 seconds; opt for a higher trim and these become 122mph and 9.8 seconds, respectively.

Automatic versions will go even quicker at 124mph, but the acceleration test takes 10.2 seconds.

Neither engine has a particularly sonorous exhaust note or offers serious performance – those looking for a more sporting experience are advised to consider the more powerful Proceed GT

Kia hasn’t pitched the pro_cee’d as a hot hatch rival – it’s very much a ‘warm hatch’ which majors on smart looks and practicality rather than aiming for the ultimate in handling agility.

Nevertheless, it’s certainly not a bad car to drive. It’s reassuringly stable and safe when cornering and is just enough fun to drive to back up its eye-catching styling.

Like other models in the Kia range, the pro_cee’d features three switchable modes for the power steering: Comfort, Normal and Sport. These make the steering progressively weightier but sadly don’t add a great deal in the way of feel – if anything the car feels at its best with the steering in the lightest Comfort setting.on twisty roads, as the heavier Sport mode adds a sense of artificial stodginess.

Arguably the diesel version feels marginally better to drive than the petrol, thanks to its extra punch out of corners and the heavier engine placing a little more weight over the front wheels, which makes the car feel slightly more positive when cornering.